Foreword from the Chief Executive Officer

This 2020-21 Annual Report continues to demonstrate our shared commitment in Victoria to delivering a service system that is connected, inclusive and works together to help keep adults, children, and families safe.

The evidence for the effectiveness of this innovative model became increasingly apparent through the year as we navigated dealing with the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, while keeping the needs of victim survivors, children and families at the forefront of our work.

The pandemic affected people in multiple ways, and it was only by working closely with our community-based partners that we were able to alleviate many of its negative impacts, whilst also tackling the increased risks of violence, abuse and neglect at home.

This report shows the benefit of local collaboration between specialist family violence services, perpetrator services, children and family services, Aboriginal services, and targeted services for multi-cultural communities.

Over the year, 66,309 referrals were received by The Orange Door network, a 30.4 per cent increase compared to the previous year. Over half of the referrals received (34,437) included at least one child. Since first opening in 2018, The Orange Door network has assisted more than 216,000 Victorians, including more than 87,000 children, access immediate and longer term supports that range from crisis support, practical help, advocacy and counselling in the community.

We want to make sure there is no wrong door when someone needs help or support. There are now several ways that people can access the network of services, based on their individual needs. This includes by telephone or email, dropping in to the primary site, through outreach support or getting help from The Orange Door network in other community, health or justice services. Some community services including legal, financial and housing services also provide support through The Orange Door network.

Whilst we prioritised maximising the accessibility of the services available, we also maintained our focus on the important task of developing and opening three additional The Orange Door primary sites. By the end of 2020-21, The Orange Door network operated across the eight areas Barwon, Inner Gippsland, North Eastern Melbourne, Bayside Peninsula, Mallee, Central Highlands, Loddon and Goulburn.

We also remain on track to ensure that by the end of 2022, all areas will have access to this integrated service response in our communities. Effective implementation planning through the year meant that Inner Eastern Melbourne, Ovens Murray, Southern Melbourne, Outer Gippsland and Hume Moreland are all now operational, and Western Melbourne, Brimbank Melton, Wimmera South West and Outer Eastern Melbourne will commence by the end of 2022.

We could not have achieved this alone, and I thank each one of our partner organisations for your commitment to ensure that we continued delivering services to people who needed support through these unprecedented times.

Eleri Butler

CEO, Family Safety Victoria